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Supporters celebrate as Ashland levy wins easily

Supporters of a new Ashland schools levy are celebrating the measure's apparent easy victory tonight.

Early returns from the County Elections Office had 4,649 voters, 64.9 percent, casting ballots in favor of the measure, and 2,561, 34.6 percent, voting against it.

The measure expands Ashland's youth activities levy to include academics and spreads the levy among all school district taxpayers rather than just city residents.

"The vote says we are very, very fortunate to live in a community that supports education, and we understand the sacrifice and greatly appreciate it," said Superintendent Juli DiChiro.

Expanding the levy to include academics, she added, "gives us a lot more flexibility. If we had that during the downturn of '02, we would not have had to cut 10 days off the school year."

"I'm thrilled and pleased that Ashland has supported our schools and passed this levy," said Marylee Oddo, who managed the levy committee. "The majority of voters value and support education and understand that our schools need these funds to help close the funding gap."

By BUFFY POLLOCK

for the Mail Tribune

GOLD HILL - In the race for a vacant Gold Hill City Council seat, early results Tuesday night showed newcomer Mike Ely with 51 percent of votes case - twice as many as his two opponents combined.

A single father and systems analyst for Amy's Kitchen in White City, Ely garnered some 137 of 266 votes cast in his race against former Council woman Kathleen Price and fellow newcomer Randy "Bucky" Steffen.

According to results posted on the county elections website just after 8 p.m., Price, a recalled Councilwoman who was running to retain the seat she lost in May, tallied 79 votes while Steffen earned 41.

"I'm thrilled and delighted. I'm honored," Ely said shortly after hearing preliminary results.

"I really didn't know what to expect. I didn't have an expectation that I would necessarily win the election. And I certainly didn't expect such powerful support from the community."

A resident for 11/2 years, Ely was encouraged to toss his hat into the ring by members of the Mail Tribune's online forums, where Ely is known by the moniker "Taupe Hat."

- Staff reports